For Javier Vazquez, the hours between his dreadful start on opening day and tonight’s Diamondbacks game against the Los Angeles Dodgers have ticked away at an agonizingly slow pace.
As his performance against the Chicago Cubs — 10 hits and seven earned runs allowed in 1 2/3 innings, the worst start of his seven-year career — was dissected and derided, Vazquez could only stew.
The right-hander said he has put Monday’s game behind him and is eager to make amends tonight.
"I’m glad I’m going out there," Vazquez said on Friday. "I wish it would have been sooner, but as a starter, you have to wait four days. I will try to pitch well and get a win for the team."
Manager Bob Melvin said he has not spoken to Vazquez about Monday.
"I don’t think I need to say anything to him," Melvin said. "He knows what happened. Everyone does. It was just one game, and I foresee no problems. He’ll go out and pitch his game, and if he stays true to form, after a game like that, he’ll come back and pitch well."
Vazquez reiterated he felt good and had solid stuff against the Cubs. Videotape analysis the day after Monday’s game revealed he was not tipping pitches.
"Sometimes, you just have to say, ‘Hey, they just got me,’ " Vazquez said. "I felt great. I’m feeling much better now than I did last year at any point. I wish the game was here already."
Opening day catcher Koyie Hill started on Friday, giving him and Chris Snyder two games each behind the plate this season. Melvin said that who starts remains a game-togame decision.
"Whatever I think is best for that day," Melvin said.
The manager said he will not implement a personalcatcher system. As a player, Melvin was a personal catcher late in his career, for Dave Dravecky in San Francisco and Ben McDonald in Baltimore.
"I appreciate the (benefits)," Melvin said. "If I feel it’s best for two guys to work together that day, I’ll do that. But you don’t want to get to the point where pitchers are dictating what the lineup should be."
Reliever Jose Valverde (biceps tendonitis) is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Sunday, but he has "three or four" bullpen sessions before appearing in a game, trainer Paul Lessard said. The right-hander’s next session is on Sunday.
Due to Valverde’s injury and his struggles during spring training, Arizona wants him to get extensive game action before returning to the majors. He will likely be optioned to Triple-A Tucson.
"There’s no question he’ll to have to pitch in competitive situations before he comes back," Melvin said.
Outfielder Shawn Green, acquired from the Dodgers during the offseason, played against his former team for the first time on Friday. The heavy turnover Los Angeles has experienced lessened the awkwardness, he said.
"I know when I left Toronto and came back to play two exhibition games, it was strange because I still had a lot of friends on that team," Green said. "Now, half the team in L.A. has changed, just like half the team in Arizona has changed. That makes it feel different." . . .
Closer Brandon Lyon said he bounced back strong from his consecutive outings on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"I had some soreness, but it was a good soreness," said Lyon, who missed all of last season after elbow nerve transposition surgery.